Title: Valerie's Retreat
Author: Joseph M. Rinaldo
BLURB from GoodreadsValerie, a 40-ish Head Teller at a bank, has met Franco, 16 years younger and studying for a doctorate in archaeology. He is stunned yet eager to begin a relationship with this attractive "cougar", and they become lovers. Their lives begin to unravel when Valerie's female bisexual boss makes advances (and threats) toward Valerie and Franco is accused of the theft of an Incan artifact from a museum where he has been working part-time. Frustrated, under surveillance by the FBI, and seeing no way out of their dilemma, they decide to steal money from Valerie's bank and flee the country. They go to Peru to start a new life, but they find there the same type of corruption and threats. How can they escape their nightmares and make their dreams come true?
Joseph M. Rinaldo; born in Danville, Illinois, but only lived the first six months of my life there, and grew up in Owensboro, Kentucky; now I live in Nashville, Tennessee, with my wife and daughter.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I grew up wanting to be a Financial Counselor helping people manage money. Then I learned that people who can’t manage money probably can’t pay a money manager. The actual impetus for me to begin writing came while I was reading Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks. When I got to the part where he received a million-dollar advance, I thought, “Holy cow! He’s a good writer, but I know I can do this, too.” I’ve been writing since that day in 2004.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Valerie’s Retreat tells about the life of a Cougar. Not the sex-hungry older women looking for another younger man trophy, but a woman you could relate to and will probably like.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
That's harder to answer than one might think. I wrote Valerie’s Retreat in a few months, since I was working part-time. However, I reread/edited it twice, my wife edited it once, and we had a professional editor. Start to finish, all of that takes somewhere in the nine-month range.
What genre would you place your books into?
I don't have a favorite genre. The stories that pop into my head get written down. They haven't fit nicely into a genre, which I think makes them more interesting. Genres force the writer to follow rules. A romance requires a nice tidy happy ending, which guarantees the book will be completely void of suspense. Action/adventure loses something when the hero is hanging on the cliff, verging on a fall to his death, but you’re only half way through the book. Golly – think he survives? Genre mandated rules stifle creativity. I’m proud to say my books defy genre, and I hope you find the twists and their conclusions unpredictable.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration? Valerie's Retreat follows the life of a forty-one-year-old woman who happens to fall in love with a man sixteen years younger. My wife is sixteen years older than I am, so that might have helped foster this idea for a book. The jokes Valerie must endure, such as, "Do you have to cut his meat for him?" are actual barbs my wife received during our dating process. Like Valerie, I also worked in a bank. Unlike Valerie, I never considered robbing the bank where I worked.
Valerie doesn't consider herself a "Cougar". Franco, her boyfriend, happened to attend the same church singles dance on the same night. They talked, talked some more, went on a date, and presto- they're boyfriend/girlfriend. That's how it happened with my wife and me. "Cougar" makes the women dating younger men seem somewhat predatory. That isn't the case at all with Valerie or my wife. For the record, my wife never considered robbing a bank either. Well, maybe considered, but never planned it out.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
We’ve changed our approach over time. A Spy At Home, my first book, was self-edited. This will sound counterintuitive, but reviewers have not mentioned the editing as a problem with the book. Hazardous Choices, A Mormon Massacre, and Valerie’s Retreat were all professionally edited by David Pudlewitts, a great editor! Mr. Pudlewitts made those stories better, and I’m lucky to have found him. As for the process, the first editor is me with a reread, my wife edits the book, and then it goes to David. I hope you like the results!
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Sure, I know from experience that a free book won’t guarantee a good review! And, that’s as it should be.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
I trust everyone understands that the “bestseller lists” have nothing to do with how many books were sold. I tried to find the person at the New York Times who compiles the list. I assumed the publisher sends that person to a Caribbean resort for a week, and PRESTO their book is on the bestseller list. – Sorry for the rant but that system ensures self-published authors will never be on a bestseller list. As for what makes a great book, I think it’s when you keep thinking about it after you finish it. I hope readers will keep debating with themselves how much forgiveness and compassion Valerie deserves long after they complete Valerie’s Retreat. Her bad decisions have to be seen in light of a traumatic childhood. Where she falls on the morality scale is up to the reader.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
As a family we love to go boating. Without giving away too much of Valerie’s Retreat I hope you find Valerie’s love of boats endearing.
Where can readers follow you?
Your blog details?
Your blog details?
Read Rinaldo, my blog, is located at http://wwwjosephmrinaldocom.blogspot.com
Your website ?
Rinaldo Write, my website, is at http://www.josephmrinaldo.com
Your Facebook page?
Your Goodreads book page?
Your Good reads author page?
Your Twitter details?
And any other information you wish to supply?
I understand people are hesitant to give independent authors a chance. If any of my books: A Spy At Home, Hazardous Choices, A Mormon Massacre, or of course Valerie’s Retreat (all available on Amazon in both ebook and paperback formats) interest you, please go to the free "Click to Look Inside" and sample the first chapter. If a book grabs you that quick, you'll probably be glad you got it. Also, if you are in a book club that reads one of my books. I'd be honored to join your discussion. Feel free to contact me through Facebook or my website, www.josephmrinaldo.com.